Originally born in Mumbai India, Vikram Raj Patil
or simply Vik came to America when he was only four years old. His parents Rama and Ashoka Patil decided that moving to Millennium City, Michigan would lead to incredible opportunities thanks to its cutting-edge advancements in science and technology. Unfortunately only a month after moving there, tragedy struck when the family was involved in a car accident that resulted in Rama's death. Ashoka survived but received some nerve damage in her back which causes her daily pain without her medication. Thankfully and perhaps surprisingly, the young Vik who sat in the backseat was completely unharmed by the accident. After Rama's death, Ashoka was forced to be a single parent to the young Vik who needed love and attention now more than ever. This would prove to be a major struggle for the pair who now had to try and support each other as the years went by.
As he grew, Vik took up an interest in boxing and even found a part-time job as a janitor at Carl's Gym when he turned fifteen that allowed him to indulge in that interest through watching fighters come and go as well as through being allowed to participate at times. But the most exciting part of the job for Vik was seeing the occasional superheroes show up for workouts and training. While never having the nerve to actually talk to any, he still enjoyed seeing them which would later add to his motivation to want to help people like them. In early 2022, the young Vik was walking home from work late one day when he was jumped by a member of the Cobra Lords biker gang. The criminal held him at knife point and demanded that he hand over is wallet, an order which the hard-nosed Vik refused to comply to without a fight.
Using his amateur boxing skills, he did manage to hold his own with the attacker for a while but the large biker proved to be too much of a challenge for the young man. After being knocked to the concrete, Vik struggled to get back up before the now angry Cobra Lord could come at him with his blade and claim his wallet and perhaps also his life. It was then that something incredible happened. While touching the concrete in order to push himself off the ground, Vik was able to somehow absorb and mimic the properties of the tough substance and cover himself in a flexible layer of it. This strange event happened just in time as the thug charged Vik with the knife but instead of stabbing him, the blade simply broke after hitting his now concrete skin. This occurrence frightened both victim and assailant and the Cobra Lord soon fled with nothing to show for his attempted robbery but an injured hand.
Vik stood stunned as he looked down at where the knife hit him and realized he must be some sort of metahuman. This epiphany of his new-found abilities filled the young man with confusion, but also joy at what he could do. Keeping this a secret from his mother and friends at school, he began to practice his ability on different materials ranging from rubber to metal and came to the conclusion that he could only absorb solid matter and that he required a certain amount of a dense substance. Now excited at the prospect of becoming a hero himself, Vik started to create a simple suit that would hide his identity and act as his super alter ego. After weeks continuing training in the use of his powers and fighting skills, Vik finally stepped out on the streets as the fledgling hero he dubbed Mantle.
Vik is a friendly and outgoing young man, who at times may come across as thick-headed. He cares about his mother deeply and tries his best to take care of her despite the fact that he's only a teenager. While appearing to be the typical "jock" type that enjoys participating in boxing and a few other sports, Vik is actually a caring soul that is willing to give others the shirt on his back if they needed it. He also enjoys learning new things through reading or watching documentaries when he isn't out working, boxing or patrolling the streets. Being raised as a Hindu, he is fairly spiritual and refers to his abilities as a "gift" that he received for a purpose. Also while no longer practicing Hinduism, Vik does still have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject due to his upbringing. One negative trait that Vik has displayed is that he can lose his temper at times which can cause him to fly into a rage and lose his judgment. This generally occurs when someone he cares for is under some form of attack. However, he tries to keep his temper in check the majority of the time and is typically more easygoing mostly.
POWERS AND SKILLS
Solid Matter Absorption - Vik is able to absorb the properties of solid materials which can then be replicated to coat his skin, nails and hair in the substance. The density of the layer varies, but it is generally a little less than half an inch in thickness. This gives him greatly increased physical durability and strength which is proportional to the material he absorbs. Absorbing metal for example will make him tough to harm from bullets or blades, whereas absorbing rubber will make him greatly resistant to electricity due to its non-conductivity. When fully coated in harder substances like diamond or steel, Vik becomes roughly strong enough to bench about six tons or 12,000 pounds of weight in total. Mantle is also able to only make part of his body covered if he wishes, which he generally uses on his hands if he simply wants to increase his punching strength or if he doesn't have access to enough of a substance. Although his weight does increase with the total amount varying depending on what properties he's mimicked, the external layer itself somehow always remains flexible and non-restrictive so it doesn't seem to impede his movement. An interesting point of fact is that his eyes can also take on the durability of whatever material he's absorbing, which makes them appear solid white when his head is covered. It seems to not affect his vision in any negative way, and only adds extra protection in his altered form.
Metahuman Physiology - Mantle's body is enhanced to a greater level than that of a regular human even without absorbing a material. His skin, bones and muscles are all denser than usual and due to this, he has rarely if ever received any abrasions to his tougher skin during his lifetime. He seems to be able to heal at a faster than average rate, with bruises recovering in less time than one would normally expect. At his best and with tremendous effort, Vik is also able to bench press about 500 lbs and can comfortably lift around 200 lbs. His endurance and stamina also seems to be greater than average, which gives him an edge over many opponents since he can hold out in a fight for a longer period of time in comparison. He is able to exert himself for about an hour before needing to rest and can run at speeds rivalling Olympic sprinters at approximately 27 mph. This unique physiology along with his typical workout routine makes him tougher than average even absent a protective covering.
Amateur Boxer - Due to his interest and frequent training at Carl's Gym, Vik is a capable fighter who uses his four years of boxing experience in combination with his abilities to best many of his opponents in combat. He is capable of throwing a punch at a speed of approximately 22 mph and with the force of between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds psi (per square inch) when in his normal form. The amount of force behind his punch increases even further depending on the material he absorbs as well. Also since his armour doesn't negatively affect his speed or reflexes, he's able to use his learned boxing techniques to the fullest. An important note is that Mantle has also learned how to properly pull his punches so as not to seriously harm those he fights whether in the ring or in the field.
Bilingual - Vik is fluent in both English and Hindi but being raised in America, he tends to mainly speak English. He also speaks with mostly an American accent when he is speaking English, with a slight Indian accent coming out at times that he doesn't notice.
More Matter - Mantle is unable to completely coat himself with a material if the object he attempts to absorb the properties of is too small. This means that he couldn't use a quarter to cover himself completely in metal, and instead only his hand would be coated. When he does attempt to absorb something small to "armour up" completely, he starts to feel immense discomfort which he describes as akin to holding your breath for too long. So far, he only seems able to fully cover himself with substances in medium to larger quantities ranging from street signs to brick walls. It's possible in time that he may require less matter however.
Matter Limitations - What Vik is able to use his powers on also depends on the substance itself, as he is only able to absorb solid matter. He also has difficulties if not a complete inability to absorb certain substances that are too thin like plastic bags or paper. The materials he can use his abilities on seem to only be denser ones including stone and metal, as well as wood and rubber if thick enough. Another important note is that he can only mimic the the properties of a material through physical contact with his skin, and is therefore vulnerable if suspended in the air or if he is obstructed by a thin material he can't absorb such as clothing.
Substance Variability - How durable and strong Mantle is entirely depends on the material he absorbs. Using his powers on steel will generally make him very tough to harm, but it also makes him vulnerable to electricity. Conversely absorbing rubber will make him far more resilient to electricity, but more vulnerable to other means of attack. Also because the absorbed substance acts as an outer shell over his body, his armour can be shattered or destroyed depending on the force and material he's coated with.
Human Being - While certainly more durable than a regular human, Vik is still vulnerable to the various dangers any human is susceptible to including blades, bullets, and blunt trauma with enough force. It should also be noted that he still requires air even when coated in a substance, and is therefore susceptible to oxygen deprivation and drowning.
GEAR AND EQUIPMENT
Second Mantle Suit - After joining the super team known as The Adventurers, Mantle was given a newer suit that is even more durable than the previous one. It's made of a fire-resistant Nomex and triple-weave Kevlar-lined material which has also been electrically insulated for additional protection. Featuring the same colour scheme as the first Mantle suit, the second suit also features shatterproof fog and fire retardant goggles and fingerless gloves with reinforced knuckle guards to increase his already impressive punching strength.
Composite Material Bracer - This bracer was given to Vik by his genius teammate Stinger and is a combination of some of the most durable materials found on Earth including steel, tungsten, diamond and chromium. It is worn on Mantle's left wrist and hidden under his glove to be used in case of an emergency where he requires a durable material to absorb. Because of the relatively small size of the bracer, when absorbed it is only able to cover the entirety of the hero's left arm.
Adventurers Communication Device - A small but advanced piece of equipment that fits comfortably in the user's ear and allows them to communicate with others on the same frequency. It was given to Mantle after he joined the Adventurers so he could stay in contact with the rest of the team.
First Mantle Suit - As the hero Mantle, Vik wore a suit that is primarily purple and black with white accents. He acquired the more durable vest of the suit from an illegal arms dealer whose operation he put a stop to on one of his first outings as a hero in West Side, in order to help him going forward. It appears to mainly be a more durable Kevlar variant which can stop knives and bullets depending on the caliber. The rest of his outfit was made with whatever durable materials he could get his hands on which he ordered online. This was later replaced with the second Mantle suit after he joined the Adventurers.
Vigilante Clothes - After he decided to use his abilities to help others and fight crime, Vik assembled a makeshift costume made of any extra clothing he had lying around including a sleeveless hoodie, old jeans, spare sneakers and a handkerchief he'd wear around his face to hide his identity. He later stopped wearing makeshift outfits and acquired a stronger suit after repeatedly finding his clothing getting ripped from taking constant damage.
Since Mantle only recently started his heroic career, he is not well known by the public at large. That said, the people that he has helped are thankful for his support and seem to respect the new hero. The media has yet to form much of an opinion of him as well given that he chooses not to stick around for reporters after doing what needs to be done.
(A place for other heroes to leave comments)
- Mantle means a covering of a specified sort and was chosen in reference to the fact that Vik can cover himself in a layer of a dense solid substance.
- It's possible that Vik was unharmed during the car accident that killed his father and injured his mother because of his metahuman physiology.
- While he is the only person with abilities in his family that he knows of, he does have a paternal ancestor named Kabir Mangeshkar that was supposedly a mystic. This has yet to be confirmed however and may have simply been a rumour.
- Has a large family which includes five uncles, five aunts, and ten cousins.
- Tries to workout at least every other day in between going to school, working at his job, and going on patrol.
- Has also been boxing since he was thirteen years old and practices it on a regular basis.
- He was given the nickname "Mumbai Mauler" at the gym where he participates in boxing.
- Vik has a habit of only really swearing in Hindi which he picked up from his mother, much to her chagrin.
- While his late father Rama was an avid cricket fan, Vik doesn't seem to care for or understand the sport.
- The last photograph of Vik's father Rama Patil was taken not long after he found work with the Millennium Cab Co.
- Prior to obtaining the composite material bracer, Mantle would carry some loose change in his pocket that he could use his abilities on should there be some type of emergency.
- He was named after his late paternal grandfather who died while Vik was still just a baby.
- After joining the team known as the Adventurers, Mantle revealed his identity as Vikram Patil to the group after many did the same for him.
- The first "supervillain" he fought as Mantle (the power armoured beetle-themed Dynas) initially managed to overpower him and escape the bank he was attempting to rob, albeit empty handed. They would later encounter a second time with Vik and his ally besting the armoured criminal.
- Things Of Note
Photo Of Vik With His Mother
Photo Of Vik's Late Father
Postcard From Family In India
Lifting weights at Carl's
Using his abilities on metal
Blocking gunfire from gang member
Lifting a car over his head
Jumping around Millennium City